Expansions: LG Chem to build technical centres in Europe/US and ABS facility in US; Arkema’s new biobased PA11 powders plant in China

LG Chem to build technical centres in Europe/US and ABS facility in US

South Korea’s LG Chem says it is expanding its production to strengthen its global market position. In the first of these expansions, it will invest around 120 billion won to expand its technical support facilities in the US and Europe. In addition, the company will also construct a new 30,000-tonne/year ABS compound plant in the US.

The American tech centre will be built in Ohio and the European tech centre will be built in Frankfurt, Germany. Both centres will be three-stories high with a total floor space of more than 7,600 sq m.

Completion of construction and start of full-scale operation are scheduled to take place in 2023 for both centres.

Ohio has excellent convenience in terms of logistics and transportation, and is located in close proximity to LG Chem’s key ABS customers, which is used in automotive parts and construction & decoration materials.

Therefore, Ohio has favourable geographical conditions for LG Chem to expand the company’s position in the North American market and strengthen responsiveness to local customers.

Frankfurt also has convenience in transportation and proximity to customers, enough to serve as a hub city in central Europe, and it is also where LG Chem's European sales entity is located, making it the best place to establish a tech centre for customer support.

In addition, a total of 70 R&D personnel, including application technology teams such as extrusion processing and injection technology, and organisations dedicated to each major strategic product, will be stationed to provide technical support for customers.

The US and Europe are the main markets that account for more than 20% of global demand for LG Chem’s strategic products.

“The tech centres will provide optimised technical solutions to the clients in Europe and the US. We will continue to lead in the global market with our key strategic line of products,” said No Guk-rae, head of the petrochemical business at LG Chem.

LG Chem will additionally invest around 60 billion won to also construct an ABS compound plant in the site of the Ohio Tech Centre in the US with a production capacity of 30,000 tonnes/year by 2023.

The plant will locally produce customised ABS products for the North American market, which accounts for 10% of global demand for ABS.

Arkema’s new biobased PA11 powders plant in China

Meanwhile, in other news, in parallel with its major project to increase global capacity of bio-based polyamide 11 by 50% in Singapore, French materials maker Arkema is constructing a polyamide (PA) 11 powders plant on its Changshu platform in China, scheduled to come on stream in the first quarter of 2023. This investment will further support the growing demand for advanced bio-circular materials in Asia.

Rilsan PA11 powders, currently produced in France entirely from renewable castor beans, are recognised worldwide for their properties and performance in terms of toughness, durability, lightweight and processing versatility. They are used in demanding applications and provide innovative solutions for fast-growing markets driven by megatrends such as durable home appliances, energy-efficient transport, and advanced additive manufacturing (3D printing) primarily for consumer, industrial, and aerospace markets.

Beyond the bio-based nature of the powder, this project will also contribute to Arkema’s ambitious sustainability commitments by using highly efficient manufacturing processes and by being physically closer to the new amino 11 plant in Singapore.

This expansion goes hand in hand with the Group’s major PA11 plant currently under construction in Singapore, which is on track to start production mid-2022, and is included in the EUR450 million exceptional capital expenditure envelope dedicated to PA expansion in Asia.


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